Expressing grave concern over the death of writer Mushtaq Ahmed in custody, 13 heads of diplomatic missions in Dhaka have called on the government of Bangladesh to conduct a swift, transparent and independent inquiry into the full circumstances of the death.
In a joint statement on Friday, the ambassadors and high commissioners of the member countries of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said Mushtaq Ahmed had been held in pre-trial detention since May 5, 2020 under the provisions of the Digital Security Act (DSA).
“We understand that he had been denied bail on several occasions and that concerns had been raised about his treatment while he was imprisoned,” reads the statement.
The envoys expressed their sincere condolences to his family and friends.
“We’ll continue to engage with the Government of Bangladesh on our Governments’ wider concerns about the provisions and implementation of the DSA, as well as questions about its compatibility with Bangladesh’s obligations under international human rights laws and standards,” they said in the statement.
The signatories to the statement are Canadian High Commissioner Benoit Préfontaine, Denmark Ambassador Winnie Estrup Petersen, EU Ambassador Rensje Teerink, French Ambassador Jean-Marin Schuh, German Ambassador Peter Fahrenholtz, Italian Ambassador Enrico Nunziata, Dutch Ambassador Harry Verweij, Norwegian Ambassador Espen Rikter-Svendsen, Spanish Ambassador Francisco de Asis Benitez Salas, Swedish Ambassador Alexandra Berg von Linde, Swiss Ambassador Nathalie Chuard, British High Commissioner Robert Chatterton Dickson and US Ambassador Earl R Miller.
Writer Mushtaq Ahmed, who was arrested in a case filed under the Digital Security Act, died in Kashimpur Central Jail in Gazipur on Thursday night. He was 53.
He was declared dead by the duty doctor at Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmad Medical College around 8:30pm, jail sources said.
The writer was taken to the hospital after he fell unconscious at the jail.
Mushtaq was arrested on May 6, 2020.